Canadian Management Style

Canadian managers are not expected to manage in an authoritarian or paternalistic manner but are, nonetheless, expected to be decisive.

Management style could be characterized as informal and friendly with managers preferring to be seen as ‘one of the guys’ rather than as an aloof figure who stands apart from everybody else.

Managers will consult widely when a decision is called for and expect input from all concerned parties. The final decision remains, however, firmly with the manager and quick decision-making is respected by all. Failure to consult widely could lead to a feeling of dissatisfaction amongst team members who will feel that the manger is acting in a dictatorial manner.

The manager is not necessarily expected to be the most technically competent person in the team but will be judged more on his or her ability to manage the resource which is the team — interpersonal and man-management skills are considered of vital importance.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in Canada

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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Overview

There are innumerable reasons why you should probably be doing business in Canada and they are not all related to the fact that it borders the world’s largest economy – although in itself this is quite a compelling argument.

Canada boasts an enviable combination of strong basic macro-economic fundamentals, an abundance of key natural resources, top-quality human resources and an extremely pro-business climate – all of which make the country a ‘must-explore’ market. In addition, Canada has developed one of the world’s great transportation networks and attracts some of the globe’s top talent to live and work there.

So, if you aren’t already doing business in Canada, you should probably be asking yourself ‘why not?’

However, like all countries Canada has a unique business culture and you are well advised to do some research on this before starting to develop any business ideas. One thing you really need to be clear about is that Canada is not the USA. Just because you have worked successfully with Canada’s southern neighbour does not mean you understand how business is done in Canada. Geographic and linguistic proximity rarely equate to cultural similarity and this is definitely the case with regard to the USA and Canada.

Even such basic things as approach to communication differ considerably between the USA and Canada as do approaches to meetings and decision-making. Canada is basically an egalitarian society and a pushy, abrasive attitude tends to go down quite badly with people who are taught never to speak positively about themselves.

Canada is also proudly multi-cultural – people are not thrown into a melting pot and expected to leave their cultural identity behind. Diversity is encouraged and you need to recognise that Canada is not a homogenous entity. Do some research in advance because the rewards of doing business in Canada can be significant.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Canadian business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips